As bilateral trade crossed $ 460 million mark, Sri Lanka’s second largest trade partner in SAARC hinted at bigger engagement with the country on May 21 and post ‘JEC modalities’ between the historic partners are now moving towards their final shape.
“We look forward to expand FTA trade by reducing sensitive items, and the positive result of this would be more opportunities for Lankan exporters” said Maj Gen (R) QasimQureshi, the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Colombo on May 21.
Pakistan’s first ever international FTA partner was Sri Lanka when the Pakistan Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) came into force in June 2005.
According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, the value of total trade between the two countries has increased by 330% during the last decade-from $ 107.10 Mn in 2003 to $ 462.12 Mn in 2013. Exports to Pakistan increased by 8% in 2013, in comparison to 2012’s $ 351 Mn. Sri Lanka’s main exports to Pakistan include natural rubber, copra, tea, coconut, spices and betel leaves while main imports are cement, cotton, wheat, cane / beet sugar, medicaments, and iron and steel. “It is time for a vigorous trade engagement effort between the two countries.
We look forward to expand FTA trade by reducing sensitive items, and the positive result of this would be more opportunities for Lankan exporters, said Maj Gen (R) Qureshi, addressing RishadBathiudeen Minister of Industry and Commerce during his courtesy call to Minister.
A range of new Lankan products have penetrated into the Pakistan market after the implementation of the PSFTA.
Among them are fresh pineapple, MDF boards, sports goods, tamarind, edible oil, porcelain tableware & kitchenware, ceramic tiles, furniture, electrical switches and sockets, and herbal cosmetic products.
We thank Pakistan for granting of 50% MOP for our exports of betel leaves under PSFTA as result of 2013 November JEC talks in Colombo.I and my officials are looking forward to stronger bilateral trade once we complete this year’s JEC talks by this December, Minister Bathiudeen said.